Four Tools Of Acoustical Design: Part 1 - Absorption

Four Tools Of Acoustical Design: Part 1 - Absorption

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Even among sound professionals, acoustics is often viewed as a sort of black art. Those who understand it might be viewed as people who have sold their afterlife to some malevolent deity in return for understanding The Secrets. Sorry, but no.

What I’d like to do here is demystify acoustics, dispel myths, and give you a better idea of just how acoustics really works. In acoustics, there are four basic tools to control what happens sonically in a room. I’ll be covering each of them in a series of four articles.

My goal is to give you a fundamental understanding of these four elements of acoustics, and how to use them to make a sonically sensitive space like your studio more acoustically accurate and pleasing. In the process, I’ll make all this whole acoustics stuff seem much less mystical and enigmatic. (Don’t worry about math—there won’t be any unless you really want it... and you’ll have to ask.)

Absorption turns sound energy into heat or kinetic energy, preventing it from returning back into the space. Diffusion takes hard reflections and spreads their acoustical energy in different directions. Barrier is used to block sound and prevent it from intruding into other spaces or leaking into a sonically sensitive space. Vibration isolation breaks the path by which kinetic energy can enter a building’s structure and transmit physically to other structural parts.